Your home is not just where you live—it is also a significant investment—resale is your opportunity to realize the highest return possible out of your investment. There are a few things you can do to make sure your home shows well and sells quickly—at the highest possible price.
First you must think of your home as a marketable commodity. A house! A property! Real estate! Your goal is to get others to see it as their potential home, not yours. If you do not consciously make this decision, you can inadvertently create a situation where it takes longer to sell.
The fact of the matter is, on average, buyers inspect 12 properties before deciding. That means 11 other properties are competing against yours!
The real estate market is a competitive market and your property has to compete with other similar properties with respect to price, cleanliness, condition, curb appeal and vibes.
A spruced up house makes a great first impression on potential buyers. An attractive property grabs their attention and makes them excited about finding a house that looks and feels well-cared for. Because buyers know they'll encounter fewer problems if they buy it, your house becomes more appealing and stands out from the competition. So if you prepare your home correctly, you'll sell your home in the shortest time on the market, for the best price, and with the least amount of inconvenience.
A good first impression makes an impact on a number of levels. It's not just the way your house looks to potential buyers, but how it feels and smells to them, how their friends and family will react, how they imagine it would be to live there.
With simple improvements throughout your house, you can grab the attention of potential buyers and help them see why your house is right for them.
Create a plan to enhance your property. Keep a notebook for your selling project, and as you stroll through your yard, make a list of what needs to be done. Consider what your property looks like to people driving by or walking through your door. What will they like or dislike? What needs fixing, painting, cleaning? What can you improve? Whether you paint your house or fix up the yard, your efforts don't need to be costly; even inexpensive improvements and minor repairs go far toward attracting serious buyers. But remember, those seemingly insignificant problems you've learned to live with can actually discourage potential buyers. Here are ideas for increasing your home's appeal in order to sell it quickly at the best price.
The fact of the matter is your front yard immediately reflects the inside condition of your house to the buyer.
Central Alberta has a good climate for outside activities and homeowners enjoy their yards. In spring, summer and fall—make certain that the trees are trimmed so the house can be seen from the street. Have the grass mowed, trimmed and edged. Walkways should be swept. In winter—remove snow from all walkways and the decks. Clean away debris. Remove parked cars. These all add to curb appeal. If a buyer does not like the outside, that person simply drives on.
The "wow" factor – that first visual, high-impact impression your home makes on potential buyers – can turn a looker into a buyer. To determine your property's curb appeal, drive through your neighbourhood and note other properties; then approach your own house as if you were a potential buyer. How does it look? Does it "wow" you? Will its curb appeal attract buyers? Note what needs improving, such as trimming trees, planting shrubs, or painting gutters. Little things convey that you've cared for your home, and this is your opportunity to sell that important message to buyers who are shopping from the street, simply cruising neighbourhoods just looking for houses for sale. To get them through your door, do what you can to make your property look like someone's dream home.
If exterior paint is peeling or blistering and you can't remember the last time you painted it; your house needs some attention. That also goes for stain that is significantly faded. A newly painted or stained exterior will help sell your house faster. And whether you do it yourself or hire someone, you'll also increase your home's value.
In the Yard
Grab people's attention by enhancing your yard and landscaping. If your house looks inviting and well-maintained from the street, people will imagine that it's attractive on the inside.
To enhance the curb appeal:
- Prune bushes and hedges; trim trees
- Keep your lawn looking healthy and green by mowing it often, fertilizing it, and keeping it edged and trimmed
- Clean up and dispose of pet mess
- Weed your gardens; add fertilizer and mulch; then plant colourful flowers
- In winter, keep your driveway and sidewalks shovelled, de-iced, and well-lit
- Stack firewood, clean out birdbaths, repair and paint fences
- Check the landscaping near the house; the grade must slopes away from the house to prevent water problems in the basement
The Front Door
An attractive entry catches a buyer's eye and says "welcome", so highlight this area of your house with decorative touches, such as a wreath on the door or new shrubs and flowers around the steps. For an even grander entry, clean and paint your front door, or replace it with a new one for a few hundred dollars. Don't forget to fix and polish doorknobs, repair torn screens, and then put out that new welcome mat.
Roofs & Exterior
If your home needs a new roof, bite the bullet and do it. Even though most roofing jobs take one to two days, buyers shy away from buying a home if the roof needs to be replaced.
- Patch cement cracks in sidewalks
- Resurface asphalt driveways
- Plant flowers
- Caulk windows and doors
- Replace problem doorknobs and locks
- Repair and paint decks and fences
The fact of the matter is most people are turned off by even the smallest amount of uncleanliness or odour when buying a property. Sellers lose thousands of dollars because they inadequately clean.
If your house is squeaky clean, you will be able to sell your property faster and net hundreds, if not thousands of dollars more. If you are planning on moving, why not get rid of that old junk now so that your house will appear larger? Make more space. Odours must be eliminated especially if you have dogs, cats, and young children in diapers or if you are a smoker. You may not notice the smell but buyers do! Most agents have a difficult time communicating to their sellers about odour. For us to get the most amount of money for you, the seller, do not take offense if we talk to you about odour problems.
Buyers expect a spotless house, inside and out. So clean everything, especially your windows and window sills. Scrub walls and floors, tile and ceilings, cupboards and drawers, kitchen and bathrooms. Wash scuff marks from doors and entryways, clean light fixtures and the fireplace. Don't forget the laundry room. And put away your clothes.
Cut the Clutter
People are turned off by rooms that look and feel cluttered. Remember, potential buyers are buying your house, not your furniture, so help them picture themselves and their possessions in your home by making your rooms feel large, light, and airy. As you clean, pack away your personal items, such as pictures, valuables, and collectibles, and store or get rid of surplus books, magazines, videotapes, extra furniture, rugs, blankets, etc. Consider renting a storage unit to eliminate clutter in your garage and attic.
It's hard to get rid of possessions, but cleaning and clearing out the clutter can really pay off in the end. Packing away your clutter also gets you started packing for your next move. Make your garage and basement as tidy as the rest of your house. Simple little tasks such as storing your tools and neatly rolling up your garden hose suggest that you take good care of your house. Don't let anything detract from making your best first impression.
They're an important consideration to many buyers. By storing clothing you won't use soon, you'll make closets look spacious.
A new coat of paint cleans up your living space and makes it look bright and new. To make rooms look larger, choose light, neutral colours that appeal to the most people, such as beige or white.
The fact of the matter is paint is your best improvement investment for getting greater return on your money.
Paint makes the whole house smell clean and look neat. If your house has chipped paint, exposed wood or the paint looks faded, it is time to paint. If your carpet is worn, dirty, outdated or an unusual colour, you may need to seriously consider replacing it. Many houses do not sell because of this problem. Don't think that buyers have money to replace the carpet. They don't. They will simply buy elsewhere.
Check its condition. If it's worn, consider replacing it. It's an easy and affordable way to help sell your home faster. Again, light, neutral colours, such as beige, are best. If you don't replace it, you can suggest to potential buyers that they could select new carpet and you'll reduce your price; buyers like to hear they're getting a deal. At the very least, have your carpet cleaned.
Repairs and Renovations
It's best to avoid making major renovations just to sell the house since you're unlikely to recoup those costs from your selling price.
Make minor repairs:
- Replace cracked floor or counter tiles
- Patch holes in walls.
- Fix leaky faucets.
- Fix doors that don't close properly and kitchen drawers that jam.
- Consider painting your walls neutral colours, especially if you have grown accustomed to purple or pink walls. Don't give buyers any reason to remember your home as "the house with the orange bathroom".
- Replace burned-out light bulbs.
- If you've considered replacing a worn carpet, do so now!
Make sure repairs are well done; buyers won't take you seriously if your home-improvement efforts look messy, shoddy, or amateurish.
Leaks and Moisture
Water stains on ceilings or in the basement alert buyers to potential problems. Don't try to cosmetically cover up stains caused by leaks. If you've fixed the water problem, repair the damage and disclose in writing to the buyer what repairs were made.